Papuan Council of Churches: the heart of the Papuan problem is racism and injustice

On 5 July 2020, the Papuan Council Of Churches (WPCC) released the following statement titled:  "Indonesian Special Autonomy Development for the Welfare of the Papuan People is Dead". The press release reads as follows:

Observing Jakarta's recent activities, unilaterally designing Special Autonomy Papua Volume II in order to avoid public pressure related to the racism in the Surabaya Student Dormitory and the consequent reverberations in Papua which have begun to cause movements at the grassroots, we need to remember that the direction and framework of the development of the Indonesian State in Papua have been imbued with ethnic superiority from the beginning. Since 1963, the existence of the Indonesian State has been stimulated by racial discrimination and therefore the fall of the authoritarian regime of Suharto as president of the Republic of Indonesia in 1998 provided a good opportunity and a breath of fresh air for the awakening of all Papuans, the demanding of political rights to independence and to leave the Republic of Indonesia.

 The demands of all the people of Papua to independence from the Indonesian State, were met with military and police violence by the Indonesian government which caused casualties on the part of the people of Papua. In order to stop the State violence through the Indonesian military and police force, the path to a peaceful and dignified settlement was agreed by both parties: the Indonesian government and the people of Papua – This was The Special Autonomy Act No. 21 of 2001. The 2001 Special Autonomy Act contained articles which provided guarantees and hopes for the people of Papua. The promises and agreements contained in the mandate of the laws of the State of Indonesia are as follows: The Protection, recognition of the rights of Indigenous Papuans, empowerment and affirmative action, have failed, and this has given birth to deep disappointment and anxiety among Indigenous Papuans. During Special Autonomy many Indigenous Papuans were killed at the hands of the security apparatus (Army and Police) and the perpetrators have never been prosecuted to get justice for the victims' families. Local political parties have never been formed. It is forbidden to fly The Morning Star flag. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) failed to be implemented. RACISM and INEQUALITY has grown and become entrenched during the era of Special Autonomy. It is evident that the events of RACISM that occurred between 15-17 August 2019 in Semarang, Malang and Yogyakarta were carried out by radical organizations including Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), Youth Pancasila (PP), members of the army and the Forum of Indonesian Veterans Children (FKPP). There are four roots of the Papua Issue in Special Autonomy which were formulated by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) and were given to the State of Indonesia to be resolved. (1) The history and political status of the integration of Papua into Indonesia; (2) State violence and gross violations of human rights which have taken place since 1965 and that have yet to be resolved; (3) Discrimination and marginalization of indigenous Papuans in their own land; (4) Development failures including education, health, and the economy of the people of Papua. The Papuan Church Council has concluded that these four root problems come from RACISM AND INJUSTICE. The heart of the Papua problem is RACISM and INJUSTICE. This was proven by GAM in Aceh becoming a dialogue partner with the Indonesian State with the dialogue mediated by a third party in a neutral venue in Helsinki in Finland on August 15, 2005. A local Aceh political party was established and the GAM Flag was raised. Based on this reality, the Papua Church Council requests that the Republic of Indonesia immediately solve the four root problems, and therefore the Papuan Council of Churches would like to reiterate the demands in our Pastoral Letters dated 26 August 2019 and 13 September 2019, which are as follows:

1. We ask for justice from the government of the Republic of Indonesia to resolve the Papua problem in the same way that Indonesia has shown for GAM in Aceh. Vice President Yusuf Kalla played an active role in supporting dialogue with GAM, which was mediated internationally. Therefore, we demand that the Indonesian government dialogue with ULMWP mediated by neutral third parties. (Contents of Letter dated August 26, 2019)

2. We urge the Indonesian government to immediately open itself to negotiations with ULMWP as it did with GAM in ACEH making them a negotiating Partner with mediation provided by a third party; This is the only and best solution to bring about a permanent peace in the Land of Papua and is in accordance with the Pastoral Appeal which on August 26, 2019, was read and submitted directly to the Commander of the Indonesian Army (TNI) and the Indonesian Police at the Swiss-Bell Hotel Jayapura. (Contents of Letter dated 13 September 2019).

Jayapura, Sunday, 5 July 2020
PAPUAN COUNCIL OF CHURCHES (WPCC)
1. Pendeta Andrikus Mofu, M.Th.
2. Pendeta Dorman Wandikbo, S.Th.
3. Pendeta Dr. Benny Giay, Ph.D.
4. Gembala Dr. Socratez S.Yoman,MA.

Download PDF Press Release HERE